Pele, the Brazil footballing legend and three-time World Cup winner, has died at the age of 82. He was widely considered to be football’s first global superstar.
Pele had been treated for colon cancer, following surgery to remove a tumour in September 2021. He had been hospitalised since November with multiple ailments.
Following Argentina’s World Cup triumph, Pele shared a photo of their team lifting the trophy on social media, praising squad leader Lionel Messi, France’s rising star Kylian Mbappe, and surprise semi-finalists Morocco.
“Today, football continues to tell its story, as always, in an enthralling way,” he said.
“What a gift it was to watch this spectacle of the future of our sport.”
Brazilian players had during a quarter-final in Qatar, unfurled a massive banner on the pitch with an image of the soccer great during his 1970 World Cup win. It simply read: “Pele!”
PELE: A FOOTBALL ICON
Pele made his international debut as a 17-year-old with a hat trick in the 1958 World Cup final. He later led the charge of arguably the greatest team the world has ever seen, Brazil’s world-dominating side of 1970. Pele was a member of Brazil’s golden generation. His teammates included Nilton Santos, Didi, Garrincha, and Jairzinho, all of whom were among the best players of the
Pele spent the majority of his career in a state championship rather than a national league. However, his goals are spread across the Rio-Sao Paulo tournament, Copa Libertadores, and international fixtures, including key roles in two World Cup victories, which no other player can claim.
Pele won three World Cups, in 1958, 1962, and 1970, though his participation in 1962 was limited due to an injury suffered in the first game that forced him to miss the rest of the tournament. The Brazil legend remains one of the team’s all-time leading scorers with 77 goals. Neymar tied Pele’s record during the latest World Cup.